The United Nations Security Council voted on Friday to unanimously to approve a French resolution stating the Islamic State (ISIS) “constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security.”
The resolution called for member countries “to combat by all means this unprecedented threat” and “take all necessary measures” against ISIS and all other violent extremist groups “to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria.”
Russia and China, as permanent members of the Security Council, have traditionally used their veto abilities to block resolutions of this sort. ISIS downed a Russian airliner earlier in the month and executed a Chinese national last week, leading the two super-powers to support this resolution.
The resolution does not invoke Chapter Seven of the UN charter which authorizes the use of outside military force within the borders of a sovereign state. However it does permit countries to implement other, non-military, measures against ISIS.
ISIS has quickly become an international issue, with the European Union implementing tougher border controls to stem the tide of jihadists entering the continent. Belgium is on high-security alert, closing down many public venues, and Turkey arrested a Belgian suspect in the Paris attack on his way to join ISIS in Syria.
There remains a division in the Security Council centering around the Russian support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia is trying to pass a similar resolution in the Security Council but is encountering opposition. Russia wants international efforts against terror to be broader, including all groups that oppose the Assad regime that Russia supports. Western countries, led by the United States, support groups they consider moderate who oppose Assad, and would like the focus of international efforts to focus on Al Nusra and ISIS.
Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, explained: “We believe the attempts by several members of the UN Security Council to block our work on the project is politically shortsighted. You can fight terrorism with one hand and with the other practically play along with them.”
At a recent G20 Summit, Russian President Vladmir Putin called on other countries to use economic measures to battle ISIS, making special note of the terror group’s oil trade. He claimed that over 40 countries have economic ties with ISIS.
“We need to organize work specifically concentrated on the prevention of terrorist attacks and tackling terrorism on a global scale. We offered to cooperate [with the US] in anti-IS efforts. Unfortunately, our American partners refused. They just sent a written note and it says: ‘we reject your offer’,” Putin said.